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SONGS FOR CAVALIERS AND COURTIERS - HELEN WATTS, THURSTON DART, DESMOND DUPRE(2 CDS)

SONGS FOR CAVALIERS AND COURTIERS - HELEN WATTS, THURSTON DART, DESMOND DUPRE(2 CDS)

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 Three L'Oiseau-Lyre LPs celebrating the art of a much-loved contralto newly remastered and compiled together for the first time, including material new to CD. The history of British contraltos on record extends beyond Kathleen Ferrier to Constance Shacklock and before her Dame Clara Butt, but their select number was joined in the 1950s by Helen Watts: 'An extraordinary contralto,' in the words of her modern counterpart, Nathalie Stützmann. Having left her Welsh home and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, she quickly established herself as Ferrier's successor on the oratorio platform with memorable performances of Bach and Handel under Sir Malcolm Sargent and Sir Adrian Boult. At the same time she began making records for L'Oiseau-Lyre, in complete and pioneering accounts of Semele and Sosarme, first of all and recently reissued by Eloquence. Louise Hanson-Dyer, the label's founder, patroness and animating spirit, was sufficiently impressed at that stage to engage Watts for a solo disc, which duly appeared in 1957 under the fanciful title of 'Songs for Courtiers and Cavaliers'. From the opening bars of Caccini's Dolcissimo sospiro it is evident that Dyer's faith in her young contralto discovery was well-founded, with projection combining warmth and strength in equal and winning measure with the kind of unforced excellence of diction that had already made her a sought-after fixture on the British oratorio circuit: 'a beautiful record,' as Gramophone's Alec Robertson remarked. The success of 'Courtiers and Cavaliers' then led to an album of songs by Purcell and Scarlatti, made in July 1957, and Bach cantatas for alto, in April 1958. All three albums were shaped by the sensitive and scholarly artistic direction of Thurston Dart, and they mixed well-loved with little-known repertoire. Thirteen songs by Henry Lawes introduced many listeners to one of seventeenth-century England's most original voices, and Watts's beautifully modulated accounts of If music be the food of love and Widerstehe doch der Sünde retain their luster even in our historically informed times.

 

 


Caccini, G: Le Nuove Musiche

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

Dolcissime sospiro

Calestani: Damigella tutta bella

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

Calestani: Folgorate

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

Cifra: In quel gelato core

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

India: Infelice Didone


Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

India: Torna il sereno Zefiro

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

Grandi: Vientene, o mia fedel

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

Lawes, H: A Complaint against Cupid

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)
Recorded: 1956

Lawes, H: No Constancy in Man

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: An Eccho

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)


Lawes, H: Tavola - In quel gelato core

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Parting

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Dissuasion from Presumption

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Suffrance


Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Hymn to God the Father

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Hymn to God the Son

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Hymn to God the Holy Ghost

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: Among Rosebuds

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

Lawes, H: A Lady to a young Courtier


Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)


Lawes, H: I prithee send me back my heart

Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto), Thurston Dart (chamber organ)

 Excerpt, Purcell: Oedipus: incidental music, Z583

Helen Watts (contralto), Desmond Dupre (bass viol), Thurston Dart (continuo)

Music for a While

Purcell: On the brow of Richmond Hill Z405

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)

Purcell: Don Quixote: incidental music, Z578

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)


From rosy bowers


Purcell: The Indian Queen, Z. 630 - Act 4

Helen Watts (contralto), Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord)


They tell us that your mighty powers


Purcell: The fatal hour comes on apace, Z421

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)

Purcell: Corinna is divinely fair, Z365

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)

Purcell: If music be the food of love Z379A (first version)

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)

Purcell: If music be the food of love (second version), Z379B

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)

Scarlatti, A: Il rossignuolo

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)

Scarlatti, A: Clori vezzosa e bella

Desmond Dupre (viola da gamba), Thurston Dart (harpsichord), Helen Watts (contralto)


Bach, J S: Cantata BWV54 'Widerstehe doch der Sünde'

Thurston Dart (director), Helen Watts (contralto)
Philomusica of London


1. Widerstehe doch der Sünde


2. Die Art verruchter Sünden


3. Wer Sünde tut, der ist vom Teufel


Bach, J S: St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 / Pt. Two

Thurston Dart (director), Helen Watts (contralto)
Philomusica of London


No.39 Aria: "Erbarme dich"

Hoffmann, G M: Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, Cantata BWV 53

Thurston Dart (director), Helen Watts (contralto)
Philomusica of London

 Excerpt, Bach, J S: Cantata BWV200 'Bekennen will ich seinen Namen'

Thurston Dart (director), Helen Watts (contralto)
Philomusica of London

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